Pineapple shrimp skewers are the perfect summer grilling recipe - they're light, citrusy, and easy to assemble! Cubed fresh pineapple and shrimp are coated in a honey balsamic dressing and grilled to perfection.
Summer grilling season is here, and you're looking for fresh summer flavor. Enter - pineapple shrimp skewers. These shrimp skewers are light and citrusy, with the perfect blend of salty & sweet.
Shrimp skewers are especially great for novice grillers because they cook quickly and are easy to manage on the grill.
Peeled shrimp, fresh pineapple, and red onion are assembled on skewers and brushed with a simple honey balsamic dressing. After a few minutes on the grill, your perfectly cooked shrimp are ready to serve!
Enjoy pineapple shrimp skewers for a light summer meal, or as a side dish to your main course. Perfect for backyard summer grilling or the yearly Fourth of July party.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Shrimp - I recommend using large or jumbo shrimp that have been peeled and deveined. Smaller shrimp may be harder to skewer. Optionally, the tails can be removed before grilling if desired.
- Red onion - Optional, but adds flavor and color to your skewers. Can be substituted with sweet onion or white onion.
- Pineapple - You'll need half of a cored pineapple, or about two cups. Frozen pineapple will work if it has been thawed beforehand.
- Honey - Can be substituted with maple syrup for a slightly different flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar - Can be substituted with red wine vinegar, but will have a more acidic flavor. Balsamic vinegar is more mellow and sweet.
- Oil - I recommend using an oil with a high smoke point, since our shrimp is going on the grill. Vegetable oil, avocado oil, or peanut oil are great choices.
- Seasoning - Salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes enhance the flavor of your dressing and balance the sweetness of the honey and balsamic vinegar.
Skewers for grilling
Any skewers you have on hand for grilling will work for this recipe. Our favorite choices:
Wood or bamboo skewers - Inexpensive and easy to find at your local grocer. Plus, they're disposable, which is perfect for camping. Remember to soak your wood skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before adding your shrimp (this helps prevent burning while on the grill).
Flat metal skewers - Sturdy, lightweight, and reusable. Also prevents your food from rotating as you flip your skewers.
Avoid skewers with plastic pieces (not grill-safe), curved skewers (can't cook every side evenly), or thin double-prong skewers (they're prone to bending and require larger pieces of food to skewer properly).
How long does shrimp take to grill?
Shrimp will take about 5 to 7 minutes to cook through over direct heat on a medium-high grill (between 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit). This will depend on the size and shape of your shrimp, as well as the heat of your grill.
Cook your shrimp until they are are pink on the outside and white on the inside. Since time can vary greatly based on your individual conditions, the most reliable method is to simply watch your food.
Flipping your skewers
Flip your skewers halfway through cooking to ensure even grilling on both sides. Your shrimp are ready to flip when the underside has turned bright pink around the edges.
Make ahead & prep
Need to prep your skewers a few hours ahead of time? Thread your shrimp, pineapple, and onion onto your choice of skewers. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
In a small bowl, add your dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine, cover, and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Your shrimp should not sit in the dressing for more than 15 to 20 minutes. The acidity of the vinegar will break down the delicate flesh of your raw shrimp, giving it a mushy texture. I highly recommend brushing on the dressing just before grilling.
What to serve with grilled shrimp
Pineapple shrimp skewers make the perfect main course alongside a salad (like this strawberry spinach salad), cooked white rice, or grilled vegetable skewers.
Or, serve pineapple shrimp skewers as a side dish or appetizer for your main course, like a pan-seared ribeye or grilled lemon pepper chicken.
Pineapple Shrimp Skewers
- 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups cubed pineapple
- 1 small red onion, thick sliced
Honey balsamic dressing
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat, about 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If needed, clean grill grates. If using wood skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes before assembling skewers.
- Carefully thread shrimp, pineapple, and onion onto skewers and set aside.
- In a small bowl, add dressing ingredients: oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine. Brush dressing over skewers just before grilling (the acidic dressing will break down the delicate flesh of your raw shrimp if it sits for more than 15-20 minutes).
- Wipe grill grates lightly with oil, then place skewers perpendicular across the grill grate. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, flipping once halfway through, or until shrimp have turned bright pink on the outside and meat is white on the inside.
- Rely less on time and more on the look and feel of your shrimp to determine when they're done cooking. Grill temperatures and conditions can vary greatly.
- Use an oil with a high smoke point to prevent burning on the grill. Vegetable oil, peanut oil, and avocado oil are great choices.
- Cut pineapple and onions to about the same thickness as your shrimp to ensure each ingredient makes contact with the grill grates.
- 2 cups of cubed pineapple = about ½ of a cored pineapple
- Leftover shrimp will keep for 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
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